Paul Guillow was a naval veteran
of World War I who brought home
from Europe an abiding love for the
burgeoning technology of aviation.
Photo courtesy of Guillow’s.
The board game,
Crash The New
Airplane Game, was
released by NuCraft
Toys in 1928. NuCraft
Toys ended in 1933
when the company
name was changed to
Paul K. Guillow, Inc.
Tom’s Book of Flying Models and
Flying Models: How to Build Them
were written by Paul Guillow. These
copies are part of the National Model
Aviation Museum’s collection. Photo
by Jennifer Alderman.
A name synonymous with stick-and-tissue model aircraft for generations, the Paul K. Guillow company in Wakefield, Massachusetts, is celebrating 90 years in business in 2016. The company was originally
founded by Paul Guillow (rhymes with willow) in 1926 as NuCraft Toys.
Born in 1893, Paul Guillow was a World War I naval veteran who brought
home from Europe an abiding love for the burgeoning
technology of aviation. Paul founded his
aviation-themed toy business at the perfect
time: one year before Charles Lindbergh
ignited a worldwide craze following his 1927
transatlantic solo flight. Paul seized on this event
by introducing his successful card game, The
Lindy Flying Game.
NuCraft’s first model airplane product was
a line of small balsa static models of combat
aircraft flown in the war. Another shift followed
when Paul recognized a high demand for flying
models, and expanded the line to Free Flight
(FF) rubber-powered scale and glider kits.
In 1933, Paul moved the expanding company
from his barn into the present headquarters
on Salem Street in Wakefield, a hamlet
approximately 12 miles outside of Boston.
In the 1940s, Paul—by
then an expert on model
books, including Tom’s Book
of Flying Models and Flying
Models: How to Build Them.
Paul died in 1951, but
Paul K. Guillow, Inc.
by Don DeLoach
Ninety years of model aviation
of his widow, Gertrude. For 35
years Guillow’s was family-owned
and operated, until it was finally
transferred to an Employee Stock
Ownership Plan, with annual revenues
between $3 and $5 million as of 2010.
Most Guillow’s kits are old-fashioned balsa and tissue, just as they
were 80 years ago. Plastic propellers,
vacuumed-formed spinners, and
molded canopies were upgrades in
the 1960s, but since then, little has
changed. Most kits are scale models in
the 16- to 35-inch wingspan range and
most are designed for FF.
Guillow’s is proud to use plantation-
35 Model Aviation APRIL 2016 www.ModelAviation.com